I had the opportunity to train the Toastmasters officers in the COT (Club Officers Training) last week. I had watched a German theatre piece last Friday and I was inspired by that. It was about 3 women and 1 man living in some apartments next to each other. They get together every now and then and have coffee and cake (Guglhopf) in the inner courtyard. They go through ups and downs in life. They suspend the coffee and cake tradition but make peace with each other and get back to it.
I believe any Toastmasters club is similar in some ways. We meet up around 12 times in 6 months and follow a routine. These 12 times also kind of decide the future of a member about whether they stay or leave the club. What helps us keep members in the club in a way that they can thrive?
Why does a new member stay after 6 months?
- Maybe they made their first speech and are hungry for more
Why does an experienced member stay after 6 months?
- Maybe they feel like they are contributing by giving good evaluation speeches and adding value and motivating other speakers
Why does a member stay after 6 months of being an officer?
- Maybe an officer who is a Treasurer learns about budgeting with income and expenses and is keen on serving
Each member has a reason to stay. Can we as officers give them a reason to stay?
I find that Toastmasters has many pillars that one can build on.
- Build communication skills with different Paths available in Pathways
- Learn about competing in club level, city level (area), state level (division) and country level (district)
- Learn and serve as different officers in the club and higher levels with more responsibility and commitment
And these pillars are possible when the club creates that Social platform that we can build on. Each club has the opportunity to create this psychologically safe place where members can shine as speakers, leaders and contestants.
When officers can create this strong (social) platform where members have a strong basement to build their pillars (communication, contests and leadership), we know that we have an amazing member journey to offer to each Toastmasters member.